Brewers 5, Cubs 1: Same old, same old

As soon as the Brewers scored their first eighth-inning run on the error by Nick Madrigal — who’s presumably in this game only for defense! — I thought, “Welp, this game is over, because the Cubs aren’t going to score any runs.”

The Cubs did manage to score a consolation run in the ninth on a couple of singles and a sacrifice fly, big whoop. Even so, the “this game is over” thought turned out to be correct, as two batters after the Madrigal error, Willy Adames smashed a three-run homer and the Brewers tacked on a fifth run in that inning. Now, you know the Cubs, the way they are hitting right now, probably aren’t going to score five runs if you give them the rest of the week, so that meant it was REALLY over.

And so the Cubs lost to the Brewers 5-1 in the series opener in Milwaukee, their fifth loss in a row. The defeat dropped them to .500 at the one-third mark of the season at 27-27. It all seemed depressingly familiar.

Honestly, I could end this recap right here because what else do you want me to say? Robert Gasser, who shut out the Cubs for six innings, is a good young pitcher, but is he THAT good? Bryan Hudson, who was so mediocre in the Cubs minor league system for seven seasons starting in 2015 that they just let him go as a minor-league free agent, was lights-out against Cubs hitters for two innings. With the 5-0 lead in the ninth, the Brewers thus didn’t need closer Trevor Megill (another pitcher the Cubs tossed away), so they called on Hoby Milner, who allowed that single Cubs run. Cubs runs are so rare these days, we should all have cake and ice cream when they score.

I just don’t get it. These Cubs hitters cannot possibly be THIS bad. It’s so rare for an entire team to go into a hitting slump like this for basically two weeks. In 10 games since they defeated the Braves 7-1 in Atlanta May 15, the Cubs are 2-8 and have scored 26 total runs. They are batting .179/.252/.258 (.510 OPS) over the 10 games and have hit four home runs, three of those by Ian Happ. Basically, the entire team is hitting like Miguel Amaya (.524 OPS).

The Cubs pitching staff has allowed 48 runs in those 10 games. That’s not great, but most teams could score enough runs to maybe go 5-5, not 2-8.

Got answers? I’d bet Craig Counsell and Jed Hoyer would like to hear them.

At least the Cubs got a good start from Justin Steele, who was lights-out for seven innings. Would you have let him start the eighth? From BCB’s JohnW53:

Justin Steele became the first Cubs starter not named Shota Imanaga to pitch seven scoreless innings this season. Imanaga did it twice, going exactly seven each time. He gave up three hits on May 1 vs. Mets at New York and four on May 18 at home vs. Pirates. He walked one and struck out seven in both games. Steele today: three hits, one walk, eight strikeouts.

Here’s a summary of Steele’s outing

Here, have a couple of highlights to break up this wall of text. Here’s a nice diving catch by Ian Happ in the seventh

Wisdom’s sacrifice fly in the ninth broke up the shutout.

The Cubs will try it again tomorrow in Milwaukee. Ben Brown will start for the Cubs and Freddy Peralta gets the call for the Brewers. Don’t expect the Cubs to score any runs. Game time is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.

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